Energy | Sustainability

No More Gas for the Grass

Americans love their lawns.  Though manicured grasses originated in England, we continue to adorn our homes with expansive lawns that require a lot of maintenance, including water and mowing.  At our suburban home, we’ve been slowly reducing the size of our own lawn each year, yet it still requires an hour of mowing and trimming…

Sustainability | Energy

Green Hotels

Chances are that if you’ve stayed in a hotel lately, you’ve seen cards inviting guests to choose to re-use their towels and have their beds made without changing the linens.  This certainly began in areas where water is less abundant, like California, but has made its way into even mainstream hotels in the Midwest.  Laundering…

Energy | Sustainability

Modern Flames

Fireplaces have long established a sacred spot in the center of our living or family rooms.  The nostalgic sound, feel and smell of a crackling wood fire has a cozy, romantic feel.  Many traditionalists believe that a natural wood fire is well worth the mess and effort it takes to build the fire.  And yet,…

Sustainability

Ecotourism

Ecotourism is a new way to embrace sustainability in travel.  Per the backpacker’s motto – “Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints.” – ecotourism is a style of travel that has a low-impact on the environment, and usually involves pristine or undisturbed natural areas off the beaten path of more commercial destinations. Travelers that…

Sustainability

Recycling Can’t Get Any Easier

Growing up, our family started recycling because my frugal father received a small pittance for our aluminum cans and newspapers, so we had special bins in the garage for each.  We’d crush the cans to optimize the space requirements, and haul them off to a specialized facility that would weigh them and pay us by…

Sustainability

Living the Better Life

They say having children will change your life – for the better, of course.  When my wife and I had our first child, we called it “redefining normal.” When lifelong friends Tim Barklage and Kevin Tibbs began their families at roughly the same time, they watched as their toddlers crawled around the floor and put…

Personal | Sustainability

Living the Dream

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that inspired millions, and contributed to an unprecedented era of social change.  His nonviolent stand against racial inequality moved people to take a stand for justice and truth.  He has been exalted and heralded as a martyr for his work.  In tribute to Dr. King, hundreds of cities…

Sustainability

Biophilia: Love of Life

There is nothing like the natural beauty of nature.  Some of the most stunning photos or paintings are of natural objects; there is an instinctive bond between humans and nature. Biophilia is the love of life.  In his 1984 book with that title, Edward O. Wilson originally defined biophilia as “the urge to affiliate with…